We are reaching the end of the year and 2020 certainly took a different turn than we expected. It has been a tough year for everyone, and we have all had to change our way of living as well as our day-to-day work routines. Here at the Embassy in Canberra, consular support became our focus for a couple of months. With conditions dramatically changed, incoming delegations and promotion projects have had to be postponed to a later date. Thanks to the opportunities offered by the online format, we have been able to stay active and stay in touch.
Both our key partners the Swedish Australian Chamber of Commerce and Business Sweden have been organising informative and highly interesting events online and we have been most pleased to be a part of these arrangements. Together the three of us make up Team Sweden Australia and with joint undertakings and a coordinated approach, we aim to the best of our abilities promote Swedish interests in Australia.
Despite the difficulties, the Embassy has through our various social media channels been promoting Swedish policies, values and culture. Our focus on sustainability and gender equality are often highlighted. The context can vary, but what springs to mind this year are the World Bee Day messages and Pippi Longstocking’s 75 birthday celebration.
On social media, we have also been busy presenting Sweden’s approach to tackling the Covid-19 crisis, as well as highlighting in what ways Swedish companies have offered their assistance in Australia.
But finally, before the year ended, we were able to in person open the long-awaited exhibition ‘Paradise Lost – Daniel Solander’s Legacy’. We did that in September at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra, and in early November, at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney. The exhibition about this well-known Swedish botanist, with artwork by New Zealand-based artists, celebrates 250 years of Swedish-Australian-Aotearoa New Zealand relations. The exhibition at the Maritime Museum will end on 14 February 2021, and with this, the three-year Daniel Solander project comes to an end. Take the chance to see this unique and award-winning exhibition. Bring your family and friends to this world-renowned museum that we are honoured to cooperate with.
As we approach 2021, the Embassy is looking forward to a new year with new opportunities. We have put together a promotion plan that we are excited about, and we take confidence in the current easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Australia and in the news of a vaccine approaching.
We have planned for further promotion in the areas of politics, trade and culture, also this year often in close cooperation with our Team Sweden partners. Follow us on social media, we will keep you posted!
A highlight in the cultural sector to be mentioned already now is the upcoming Hilma af Klint exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, set to open in June. As many as 120 pieces of amazing artwork will be brought out from Sweden, of which many have not been exhibited abroad before. It is wonderful that this much-acclaimed Swedish artist will be shown to the Australian audience.
Finally, I would like to wish each and everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and all the best for 2021.
Take care, stay safe.
Ambassador of Sweden to Australia
HE Henrik Cederin Ambassador of Sweden to Australia, Daina Fletcher, Senior Curator, Australian National Maritime Museum and Jan Gardberg President of the Swedish Australian Chamber of Commerce.
Photos: Andrew Frolows Australian National Maritime Museum